Friday, December 27, 2019

Untitled Goose Game Review

If you’ve ever wanted to be the villain in a game, then this is the game for you. In Untitled Goose Game, you play as a vicious, merciless goose. There's no sugarcoating it. You're just a jerk. You're not protecting your nest, or defending yourself from people trying to make dinner out of you, you're just out to ruin people's day. You break their stuff, scare them, steal their keys and throw them down a well. You know, goose things. But Untitled Goose Game is more than just a meme gif generator, there's actually a game with objectives and rules here, and plenty of charm, of course.

Untitled Goose Game is a puzzle adventure game. It reminds of point and click adventures and games like Zelda. Your goal in the game is to torment humans. There are 5 small neighborhood areas in the game, and there's a laundry list of things to do in each one before you can move on to the next. All of your objectives have you pulling some kind of prank on a human. Sometimes your goal is clear and you can kind of stumble into completing objectives by messing around with stuff, but as the game goes on, your objectives become more puzzle-like and you have to come up with creative ways to complete them. For example, in the Garden area, you have to steal the groundskeeper's hat. But you can't reach that high, you're a goose. So you have to observe his routine and wait for the right opportunity to steal the hat, or maybe make him bend over by moving things around in the garden. There's often more than one way to get things done. The first part of the game is pretty linear and split up into self-contained areas, but after you beat the game, there's a second quest with new objectives that crossover from zone to zone and you have the freedom to go wherever you want from the start.

As a goose, you don’t have much to work with, but the simple controls make the game easy to get into. You can press Y to honk at people and get their attention or maybe scare them, and press A to grab things with your beak. That’s kind of it. You can also duck, run, and spread your wings, but those are really just skills that help with the honking and grabbing. You can use your beak to open doors, drag objects around, and pull things apart. Once you grab a hold of something, you might make someone mad, so that’s when you should run. If a human catches up to you, they’ll shoo you away and grab your item. You can duck to grab things low to the ground, hide behind something, or extend your neck a bit to place something somewhere with a little more accuracy. Spreading your wings is mostly for looks. It’s completely useless outside of one objective. Also, this might sound weird since I'm talking about a goose game, but it’s worth noting that you move like a goose. The controls are somewhat awkward and inaccurate. The goose waddles around clumsily, takes wide turns, and can’t stop on a dime. He also can’t run faster than a human. This isn’t a bad thing, though. That’s just part of the challenge of the game.

Challenges and puzzles are great, but the real reason why I was interested in this game to begin with was that it looked ridiculous. The thing that makes Untitled Goose Game so much fun for me is how funny it is. Watching people react to the goose is hilarious. You’re a pest. People get mad at you, shoo you away, chase you around, and even put "no goose" signs up, like no smoking signs. Being a bad goose and getting away with it is so much fun. There's something so exhilarating about dragging someone’s stuff away as they chase you. Lots of indie games are filled with Internet memes, but Untitled Goose Game is the meme. It’s no wonder this game was so popular on Twitter when it made its debut earlier this year.

Untitled Goose Game’s graphics aren’t technically impressive, but I think they work well for the game. I like the simple cartoon-like style, and I think it helps in making things you can interact with stand out. I also think the animation is really well done. The goose it super funny, of course, and even though the humans don’t have many facial features, the animations do a great job showing how mad they get at the goose. There isn't much UI in the game either, but I like how your objectives are written like a laundry list in a notebook and the pause menu is a bunch of street signs. They both fit in nicely with the neighborhood theme of the game.

Untitled Goose Game doesn’t have a lot of music, but it uses what little music it does have very well. There’s a piano track that dynamically comes and goes as you move around and do stuff. It goes away when you’re not really doing anything and then picks up when you grab something or are being chased. It’s very cartoon-like. There’s also a really nice jazzy bossa nova piano song on the Start screen, which reminds me of that Rainy Jazz YouTube channel.

I’m not saying Untitled Goose Game is my GOTY (unless that stands for Goose of the Year), but it’s a lot of fun. You can 100% it in maybe 5 or 6 hours, and it is $20, but I think it’s worth it. I loved tormenting humans as the goose, and had a good laugh doing it. If you like puzzles and think what you’ve seen of the goose in action is funny, then you’ll probably love Untitled Goose Game. Honk!